Medium Sized Family uses affiliate links. If you click a link, we could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Read more.

Looking for fun things to do on your birthday that don’t cost an arm and a leg? Get a few new surprises to spring on the birthday boy or girl this year!

After 8 1/2 hours of pitocin induced, unmedicated labor, I was finally holding my first born baby boy.  My Hubby and I examined him and beamed at each other.  We weren’t quite sure what we’d just gotten ourselves into, but we were ready to give it a go!  And we knew that this birthday would always be special to us.

Over the years, we’ve found several fun things to do on your birthday that make everyone feel good.  There are so many great ideas that don’t cost a ton of money!  Make the birthday celebrant feel special with a few touches that don’t have to empty your bank account (or take a ton of planning!).

Here’s Our List of Fun Things To Do For a Birthday

These birthday ideas for kids are the perfect way to make them feel special at home!

1. Reminisce

Everyone loves to hear (positive!) stories about themselves!  One of our favorite things to do is remember stories of past birthdays, especially the day our child was born.  For the adults, we might just remember fun times we’ve had together, or that family story about “that one time” that people outside our family wouldn’t get.

The Mystery Machine birthday cake

2.  Let Them Choose the Food

I know a family that lets the kids eat whatever they want for their birthday dinner.  A child might have salami rolls, ice cream, potato chips, and cereal.  It’s one day a year…why not live it up?

In our family, the special guy or gal can choose their breakfast (if there’s time for that) and dinner.  They also get to choose their birthday dessert.  Many of them pick a favorite flavor of cake with a cool character in icing.

But one of our boys likes to mix it up.  He’s had cherry pie, blackberry cobbler, and even banana splits.  You can put a candle into any of those things!

Some fun ways to celebrate a birthday that are cheap or even FREE! Click To Tweet

3.  Book > Card

Birthday cards can be special and all, but I’m not excited about spending $4 on a card they’ll throw away.  I’d rather spend that money on a book they can enjoy for a long time!  My kids like reading the same good books over and over again, so books are always worth it.

My favorite places to get a great deal are Goodwill and Amazon.

Thrift Books is an awesome way to get affordable books.  They’ve got tons of best sellers for less than $4!!

4.  King/Queen For the Day

How much fun would it be to actually deck the birthday boy or girl out in royal gear?  How about this birthday crown from Etsy!  

Remember to save it just for birthdays to make it more special.

5.  Streamers

They aren’t just for the birthday party!  We sometimes hang streamers in the door so the birthday person can bust through like a football player once they get out of bed.

6.  Photo Book

They say you don’t have as many pictures of your last kid as you do your first.  But in today’s world where we always carry a camera, that just isn’t true anymore!  Know what is rare?  An actual printed picture.  My fifth born has tons of photos of himself… but almost none are pictures he can hold in his hand.

I made a special photo book of his first year of life, and he pulls it out all the time!  Get a free 8×8 photo book from Shutterfly here!  (Free for first time users of the site only.)

7.  The Kiss

If you liked Everybody Loves Raymond, you probably remember The Birth Kiss.  Marie would find Raymond at exactly the minute he was born and she’d give him a kiss.


(You could probably find a less embarrassing way to mark the birth moment.  Your call.)

8.  Collect Your Free Stuff

Lots of stores and restaurants want to give you free stuff for your birthday.  So go collect it!  Here’s a list of 100 places that offer birthday freebies.

9.  Pancake Numbers

Make pancakes for breakfast.  You can add favorite fillers like chocolate chips, birthday sprinkles, or fruit.  Then shape them in the right number(s) to honor the person of the day.

10.  Invite Friends

Spend the day with a good friend.  Making time for good people is often a bigger indulgence than spending money!

11.  Make Treats

Make some yummy treats.  Eat the whole pan guilt free…or share them with your family and friends, classmates, or coworkers.  Grab a carton of your favorite ice cream and enjoy it guilt free!

12.  Special Plate

Our kids get to make a special plate at a ceramics shop.  We pull it out to mark special occasions such as birthdays.  You could also pick up a colorful plate that only comes out on birthdays.

13.  Do Their Chores

Everyone appreciates not having to do mundane chores.  It’s an even bigger treat if your love language is “acts of service”.  Some people might consider this one of their favorite gifts!


14.  Make an Announcement

Does the birthday boy or girl crave attention?  They’ll love the staff at a restaurant singing to them.  Or you could have the principal or boss make an announcement that it’s a special birthday at school or work.

These days, a great shout out is to use social media to tell the world how much this special person means to you.

15.  Turn Gift Time Into a Scavenger Hunt

Yeah, you could just hand them their gifts.  Or you could make the anticipation last a little longer!  Wrap up the first clue in a box and send them on a hunt through the house to find their gift.

Check out this list of cool birthday presents that won’t add to your clutter!

16.  Ask A Question

Each year when you take a video of the birthday celebrant, ask him or her a question.  I ask my kids what they want to be when they grow up.  Then we can watch old videos and see how it changes over the years.

I ask my husband, too, because we aren’t sure the official age for being a grown up.  😉

17.  Go for a Drive

Visit those special places that mean the most to you.  Bonus points for creating a scavenger hunt of memories!

Click to get some awesome birthday ideas for kids, for adults, and for teens! These tips are a fun way to surprise the birthday boy or girl with a treat (and they're all super affordable, too!).

Pin me!

These fun things to do for a birthday don’t cost much, but they sure make the day special!

Even though that baby is now a teenager, he still loves to celebrate his day!  Who wouldn’t want a day free from chores??

Is your birthday buddy tough to buy for?  Give them one of these cool things under 10 dollars!35 Cool Things Under 10 Dollars: Makes a Great (Cheap!) Gift


What are your favorite birthday traditions?

17 Fun Things To Do On Your Birthday That Will Fit Your Budget
Article Name
17 Fun Things To Do On Your Birthday That Will Fit Your Budget
Looking for fun things to do for a birthday that don't cost an arm and a leg? Get a few new surprises to spring on the birthday boy or girl this year!
Publisher Name
Medium Sized Family
Publisher Logo